Showering with dizziness and vertigo can be scary and difficult! Many people with vestibular migraine and MdDS are overly dependent on their visual system to help them balance, and they feel lost in space (and often lose balance) when they close their eyes! The downward moving water, enclosed space, and head movements required to shower can trigger symptoms for many people. Here are some of our favorite strategies for feeling more stable in the shower.
- Sit on the floor, a bench, shower stool, or plastic chair with grips.
- Use a clear curtain to make it feel less enclosed.
- Use a hand-held showerhead. it is helpful because you can control the flow of water, keeping it out of your eyes, sightlines, and allowing you to move the shower head instead of your head.
- Wash your hair from behind so you can keep your eyes open for stability.
- Press a body part against shower wall or use a grab bar. This will give your body some much-needed information, called proprioceptive input, to know that you aren’t moving. It will help your brain determine where you are in space, making you feel calmer and more stable.
- Try to keep your eyes forward and head still. Keep your soaps and shower accessories at eye-level, so you don’t have to bend down or look up to reach them.
- Use music, scents, and calming breaths to make it a more pleasant experience. Many people with VM and MdDS start to develop “shower-anxiety” because they know it triggers their symptoms. Creating calm or positive associations with showering (in addition to using the other tips above) can help you avoid a spike in symptoms due to shower-related stress or anxiety.